Treatment News : Access to Meds to Treat Drug Addiction Is Vastly Limited

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June 25, 2013

Access to Meds to Treat Drug Addiction Is Vastly Limited

Because of restrictions of Medicaid programs and insurance companies, medications to treat addiction to opiates are often inaccessible to those who need them, MedPage Today reports. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) released a 216-page report on this issue, which is critical to the HIV epidemic because injection drug use is a major contributing factor to the virus’s spread. (Heroin, for example, is an opiate.)

The report found that access to these prescription treatments varies widely between state Medicaid programs, with just 28 covering all three of the medications Probuphine (buprenorphine), methadone and Vivitrol (naltrexone); all are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Forty-two state Medicaid programs require prior authorization for buprenorphine. Many of the programs also impose coverage limits for lifetime benefits.

The report finds that there are similar restrictions on treatment coverage among private insurance companies and that coverage is sparse for such drugs as Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) and injectable naltrexone.

Congress also imposes limits on the number of patients a clinician can treat at one time. Furthermore, the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 requires that care providers obtain a special Drug Enforcement Administration waiver to prescribe certain drugs to treat opioid addiction.

To read the MedPage Today report, click here.

To read the ASAM report, click here.

Search: Opiate, addiction, treatment, Medicaid, private insurer, American Society of Addiction Medicine, ASAM, Probuphine, buprenorphine, methadone, Vivitrol, naltrexone, buprenorphine, Suboxone, naloxone, Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000.

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Eric Systrom, Honolulu, 2013-06-26 11:15:53
Having been on all of these drugs due to dependency to prescription opiates for neuropathy, I found it more difficult to ween off of these, than the opiates I became dependent on. My neuropathy was not cured, however I had to take increasing amounts to get relief. Having nerve pain is horrible but being dependent on opiates was a worse problem. I did break the cycle and I lasted about 3 months before going back on a low dose again, and am disciplined about only using them sparingly.

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